I think I could snack on food for the whole afternoon. I already had a mid-sized breakfast (2 boiled eggs, oatmeal and lots of tea), and Matt and I split a Tibetan bread, fried rice and little pizza for lunch, but I just topped it off with a bowl of muesli! Now I guess I’m full, but it would be great to just sit here in this sunny lodge and snack on my mom’s chocolate chip cookies, or Sun Chips, or popcorn…Happily after the pass we’ve had some alright food (with the exception of the Florida Hotel where the food was terrible). We’ve had a few Nepali “Mixican” burritos, pizzas, and apple crumbles (we’ve also stayed clear of the “Japanish” food on the menu). Despite my stomach having more problems on this 2nd half of the trek, I’ve had a huge appetite and just try to eat as much as I can anyway, hoping I’ll digest some of it properly. This afternoon has been wonderful. Even though we’ve gained quite a bit of altitude again in the past few days (i.e. climbed hundreds of stairs), and the nights are getting cold again, right now there is clear blue sky and lots of sunshine. I was able to take a hot shower and not be surrounded by freezing cold air. The guys are all sprawled out on the lawn, asleep on straw mats. Simone is laying across three chairs, also enjoying the sun. One of the hotel ladies has just smiled over at me and we shared a laugh at the tired trekkers. The last few days we’ve walked back into terraced farmland. It is an interesting reminder to see where al the food we’ve been eating comes from—dried beans, corn, grains, spinach, etc. I even saw a chicken laying eggs at the place we stayed last night. There’s much more variety in the plants we’re seeing now from trees, ferns, moss, grass, etc, and even some peach trees in full blossom. Going straight uphill the last two days hasn’t been ideal, but at least the landscape is peaceful and the sun is shinning.
It feels so luxurious to sit outside in the warm sun wearing a clean pair of pants and (relatively clean) tank top and fleece. Adding to the luxury o my moment is my little tube of L’Occtaine hand cream I got from my friend Heide and that I’ve saved to use in a moment such as this—when a bit of luxury is needed in the midst of roughing it. Thanks Heide! Speaking of roughing it, we’ve been gone sixteen days now and have two more to go. (I hear it’s all downhill form here though…literally. Over 3000 stairs tomorrow.) During that time we’ve had an attached bathroom just three times, only three showers that really felt warm enough (eleven in total), clean socks every few days because I’m too tired and lazy to wash a spare pair each night, hair washed four times, same pair of pants worn sixteen days in a row (plus an extra pair or two on the cold days), and the hair on my legs hasn’t been this long since I started shaving in jr. high! I’ll spare you the rest of the details, but thankfully it hasn’t been as bad as it sounds reading that list right now. I’ve definitely been grossed out (High Camp), tired, sore, and really cold. I even considered going back a few days early and meeting Matt back in Pokhara, but I’m glad I stayed. Overall this has been a good experience and Matt and I have made some good memories together as well as met some fun folks. We’ve got two more days left until we get back to Pokhara, and I’m ready to be back but also glad to have come.
Today was day sixteen of the trek and day two of going up stairs nonstop. Four hours of going up stone steps. Like yesterday’s post, there’s really not too much to write because all I could think about was the next step. The only thing of note is that we did pass another Maoist checkpoint today. It was right before Ghorepani and Udaya told Joylani and I to just be silent and walk. So we did and when they told us to stop, we just kept walking and Udaya pretended to be a mere porter and replied, “I don’t know anything…my boss is up there,” referring to Binod, who was ahead of us and had to have passed the checkpoint already. And that was it. With no gang of adolescents to block the trail, there wasn’t anything they could do to stop us.We arrived in Ghorepani around noon and the first thing I did was take a shower- think how sweaty you’d be if you went up stairs for four hours straight. Not only did the place have a real shower instead of a bucket, but it had a gas heater too. By far the best shower of the whole trip. Afterwards, I went outside and laid down in the warm sunshine (warm sunshine has been a rarity on this trek) with Binod and Udaya. I quickly fell asleep, but moved my nap to our room when it got too hot out. It was a pretty lazy day- almost a rest day if it weren’t for the four hours of stairs. Nonetheless, it was nice to relax for an entire afternoon, since our rest day was ten days ago now. The night was pretty relaxing as well- drinking rakshi, meeting some other Dutch trekkers, and of course sitting around the fire. Joylani and I joked that its gonna be all downhill from here. Quite literally, as the next two days will consist purely of descending thousands and thousands of steps.